Gender and International Relations

Course content

This course analyzes the place of gender in world politics. By conducting a survey of research since feminist perspectives entered the International Relations discipline in the 1980s we examine how both the practice of international politics and the discipline are gendered. The course introduces students to theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of gender in International Relations, and reviews different fields of research, focusing on security studies,  with cutting-edge literature.

The course takes its starting point by reflecting on International Relations theory to understand why the mainstream of International Relations has traditionally had difficulties in engaging with feminist critiques. From there, we will look at the early feminist debates and turn to traditional themes of International Relations such as war, conflict, militarism and security through a gender perspective. We want to analyze the role of bodies in International Relations and their complex intersecting identities to understand how gender is intertwined with categories such as race, class and sexuality. The question how these complex identities give subjects possibility for agency runs throughout the modules. The course emphasizes how gender, security and politics are discursively constructed through both language and images. To shed light on these discursive constructions we conduct case studies on the counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan and the institutionalization of gender in the UN system through the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.

Students will learn why and how gender matters in the conduct and study of world politics. They will leave the course with a better understanding of how feminisms, gender, masculinities, postcolonialism and their underlying power structures sit at the very core of International Relations. Students will acquire the relevant methods to apply feminist approaches to their research. They will be particularly well equipped to apply discourse analysis to the field of security studies and its interactions with the larger fields of International Relations and Political Science.

Lecture topics include:

1. Course Introduction: Reflections on the Discipline

2. The Early Debates

3. Feminisms & Methodologies

4. Intersectionality & Postcolonialism

5. Bodies in International Relations

6. Conflict and Militarism

7. Military Masculinities

8. Feminist Security Studies

9. Images and Visual Security Studies

10. Case Study: Gender & Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan and Iraq

11. Assignment Workshop

12. Silence

13. Queer International Relations

14. Case Study: The Institutionalization of Gender in the United Nations

Education

Bachelor: 7,5 ECTS

Kandidat: 7,5 ECTS

Learning outcome

Knowledge:

  • Look at world politics through a gender lens.
  • Comprehend how both the practice of world politics and the discipline of International Relations are gendered through discursive constructions.
  • Describe research problems, theoretical approaches and methods in the field of gender and International Relations.

 

Skills:

On completion of the course, students will be able to

  • Distinguish between types of feminisms and apply theoretical approaches to debates in International Relations and events in world politics.
  • Analyze media texts, policy speech and government policy documents using a gender lens.
  • Critically examine gendered constructions in world politics and offer solutions to security issues.

 

Competences:

  • Teamwork: Contribute to a common learning environment in class. Collaborate with colleagues working on gender from other academic disciplines.
  • Critical thinking: Understand power structures underlying global politics.
  • Knowledge transfer: Apply knowledge on gender to diverse working environments, such as in governmental and international organizations working on gender, or NGOs advocating for global gender justice.
  • Self-learning and analytical writing.

Classes will be split into two parts: The first part consists of a lecture, in the second part we will split up into smaller groups to discuss the assigned readings for the week.

For a fruitful in class discussion it is essential that students come prepared to class and have done the readings. Please prepare some speaking points before each class for the group discussions. This will allow you to share ideas and engage in critical discussions with one another.

Indicative readings:

Ackerly, Brooke A., Maria Stern, and Jacqui True, eds. 2006. Feminist Methodologies for International Relations. 1st ed. Cambridge, UK ; New York: Cambridge University Press.

Enloe, Cynthia H. 2014. Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics. Second edition, Completely Revised and Updated. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Parpart, Jane L., and Marysia Zalewski, eds. 2008. Rethinking the Man Question: Sex, Gender and Violence in International Relations. London ; New York : New York: Zed Books ; Distributed in the USA by Palgrave Macmillan.

Parpart, Jane L., and Swati Parashar, eds. 2019. Rethinking Silence, Voice, and Agency in Contested Gendered Terrains. London ; New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Shepherd, Laura J., ed. 2010. Gender Matters in Global Politics: A Feminist Introduction to International Relations. New York: Routledge.

Sjoberg, Laura, ed. 2010. Gender and International Security: Feminist Perspectives. London ; New York: Routledge.

Steans, Jill, and Daniela Tepe, eds. 2016. Handbook on Gender in World Politics. Cheltenham, UK ; Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Weber, Cynthia. 2016. Queer International Relations: Sovereignty, Sexuality and the Will to Knowledge. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

The full reading list will be made available on Absalon.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Feedback is offered continuously throughout the course.

Additionally, an assignment workshops provides the

opportunity for peer and individual feedback on ideas for the final paper.

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Written Free Assignement
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Criteria for exam assesment

  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28